Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Pittsburgh yaatre :-D

Ok its been sometime and things have happened. I'll just give a glimpse of few before the main Pittsburgh post.

  • One was the thanksgiving black friday sale (For ignorant people like I was previously, Black day sale happens right after Thanksgiving day where stores offer hugggggggge discounts. That day most stores open at 5 AM in the morning!!). God!! We went at about 8 AM and you should have seen the rushes. All the parking lots were full. We had a few fixed items (jackets, sweaters) in mind, so we had a good time grinning at the queues ;-).

  • Later we went to Pittsburgh, where I had darshana of not only Lord Venkateshwara, but also of my first snow fields :-D. This story will be continued in detail later :-D.

  • Saw my first snowfall last thursday (1st Dec 2005) and the feeling is indescribable but will try to do justice to it in my next post :-D.

  • My Parents-in-law' gruhapravesha went on great and so did the shifting.

  • As our current apartment lease is getting over, we were looking for another and fixed on one 2 weeks ago. We signed the agreement on saturday and will be moving next week.

  • A major re-shuffling going on at my workplace. I was working under a manager, but will not be working under him, but another guy from next month. Things are muddled right now, but cross my fingers and hope everything's positive :).

Now that I've got them all off my chest, onto the Pittsburgh post :-D.

25th November 2005:

We left Lexington at around 12:30 PM on Friday. Pittsburgh is about 5 hours drive away from Lexington. The route we took had us actually crossing 2 states - Ohio and West Virginia. Pittsburgh is in Pennsylvania state. I packed a lunch of rice, some curry and curd. We also had a few other fruits and snacks with us. So we set off.

Stopped for lunch at a rest area in Pennsylvania. We actually planned to have lunch outside on a picnic table, but I was feeling too chilled, so we went back to the car. It was then I noticed the small white patches on the ground. "Yes that's snow", was Sri's cool response :-p. Man, I was thrilled and touched one of the patches immediately. It felt like crushed ice powder, thats what it is anyways :-p. From then on, we started seeing snow on the roadsides. They evolved into complete snow fields after sometime into Pennsylvania. We stopped at a petrol bunk where I took this photo:

We reached Pittsburgh at around 7 PM and landed at the hotel. Since there was an Indian temple here, we knew that there's be Indian restaurants around :-D. Sri had previously researched and fixed upon a restaurant called "Namaste India" and we set off to the place to have dinner.

I must accept that in first look, the restaurant was a bit shabbier than any of the Indian restaurants I've been to in US so far. But the smells coming from the kitchen were lovely. We hesitantly ordered mirchi bajji as the starter and were ready to get out of the place if the dish wasn't good. But all our fears turned out to be nothing when the food actually arrived :). The bajji was delicious and so were the veg noodles, veg fried rice and the gobi manchurian we ordered later ;-) :-D. This hotel was a typical south indian restaurant we find in Bangalore. The noodles were pukka desi and I almost cried as I had my first bite. God!! Its been more than 7 months since I ate noodles like that!! Needless to say, we both thought that the food was excellant and enjoyed it very much :).

26th November 2005:

Next day, early morning we set off towards the Sri Venkateshwara temple of Pittsburgh. As I mentioned before, its one of the earliest Hindu temples to be built in US. You can find more information on their official website here.

The temple is beautiful. It seems it was modelled based upon the Tirupathi temple in India. The SV temple is actually built on top of a small hill. We went inside and it was exactly as if we were back in one of the Indian temples. The first god we saw was Ganesha. After doing namaskara to him, we went around the main gudi. There was a sathyanarayana pooja going on at one place. It was all very serene and peaceful. Next we entered the main gudi and saw the Venkateshwara idol, very big and exactly like the one in Tirupathi. It seems all the idols were brought to US from India!! We got an archane done in both our names, did namaskaara, took teertha and prasada of bananas that the poojari gave us and sat in the temple for a few minutes. The temple is being renovated from the inside. The only sad part for me was that photography was not allowed inside the temple ;-).

Then we found out that we could buy prasada. Since we hadn't had breakfast, we decided to make the prasada our breakfast and bought Puliyogare, Pongal and Boondi laddu. As the temple is exactly like Tirupathi, I almost expected the Tirupathi Laddu too, but I was disappointed ;-).There's a hall in the temple premises where the devotees eat the prasada. I guess the hall is also used for functions. We both ate the prasada and bid goodbye to the temple. As I walked outside taking a couple of more snaps, the thought I had in my mind was, its all like India except the snow fields and the posh cars :-D.

We immediately started on the drive back home. There's actually nothing else around in Pittsburgh for a visitor, so headed back. The drive back was again, thankfully Sri would say, without snow fall. It seems snow fall is hazardous to driving. But there were snow fields in sight until we crossed Pennsylvania border :).

So thats it, that was the short trip after a long time. Its getting too cold to go out on treks/hikes etc. Forget treks, its getting very difficult to continue our daily walk in the night after dinner :(. So, good that we were able to go to a place atleast when we did have holidays. We actually had planned to go to Chicago that weekend, but it seems its very windy and extremely cold out there. So shifted the plans to Pittsburgh :). Glad we did, for it was one of the most beautiful trips so far :).


Thanu retorted...

Great post. Hope all at ur work goes well. There is a huge Swami Narayan temple being build in Atlanta. I don't think they will be doen for another year. So ur next atlanta visit - keep that ina a little corner of ur mind.

on9thcloud retorted...

Nice post on Pittsburgh.We had been there in 2003..But did you get a chance to visit Jain temple there?It's a beautiful one.We had also been to saibaba temple and drove to Niagara from there.
Good luck at your work place.

Deeps retorted...

>> Thanu >>

Yeah, we actually did hear about the temple in Atlanta, but it was only after we were actually in Atlanta. So had not time to change any of our plans. Well, maybe next time :).

>> Lavanya >>

Back after a long time huh? :)

We had planned a trip to Niagara, but its way too cold out there right now. I believe that summer is the right time :). I didn't hear about any Jain temple, maybe will research on that :).

Sriram retorted...

The thing that suprised me in the temple is the story of satyanarayan puja being recited in english !! logically enough, it makes sense since the puja was being performed en-masse and some would know tamil, some just telugu and some perhaps hindi or kannada...

"One why cant all indians learn to speak in sanskrit (daiva-bhasha, or the language of the Gods??)" - asks my right brain..

Instantly, my left brain answers - "Well, that would have happened if americans(in particular) spoke it.."!!!! LOL !!! :)

yet, that amazed me..

Harish Suryanarayana retorted...

The temple looks like its in another world ! ( thinkin abt it , it actually is ) The couple in the photo look happy and contented , the roads ... well what can i say . Yes and reg the food ... Its the same as electricity . you do not how important it is to you till it isnt there anymore .

Deeps retorted...

>> Sri >>

Yup, forgot the story-being-in-English part. And Sanskrit is probably not the most convenient of languages to speak, you know :-p.

>> Harish >>

Yeah, food is like that. The fact is I not only miss my mom's cooking (which is compensated by mine :-p), I also miss simple stuff like the roadside bhel puri, the typical south indian modified dishes, Puffs/curry buns and what not. This American food is not at all satisfying to the palate :(.

Usha retorted...

Interesting account and nice pictures.

wise donkey retorted...

late on this post, but still it was nice to read it:)
even if i couldnt go to the temple, yoou took us thru your blog:)

Deeps retorted...

>> Usha >>

Thanks :).

>> Gaya >>

Thats what I usually aim my travel posts to do :). Glad that it seems to be achieving that atleast a bit :).

Soumya retorted...

hmm...i'm late in commenting on this one...
well, black friday sale is crazy...i went only once and mostly avoid it now..
glad to know about the grihapravesha went well...
hope u r all settled in ur new apartment by now...
good luck on ur job..everything'll be just fine...

i totally agree with Gaya...i don't know if will visit Pittsburgh any time, but ur post definitely took me through it...the same about all the other places u've written about...keep up the good job man...

i've been to only one temple in chicago and i found the same thing...all Gods in the same sure is a great experience...i don't know when i'll go to a temple again...

driving in snow is definitely dangerous & stressful...u take care & have fun...

Neel Arurkar retorted...

Not often have I seen temple surrounded by snow :-)

Deeps retorted...

>> Soum >>

Yeah most of the temples here are like that. We have one in Louisville, KY which is about an hour drive away. They have south indian, north-indian and jain gods together!! But they have separate pundits for them and the temple is very peaceful :).

>> Neel >>

That was what fascinated me more than anything else :).